Artist’s rendition of options A and B for the multi-use path on the east side of South Columbia Drive. This is South Columbia heading south, with a 10-foot path and 3-foot grass strip on the left. Currently there is no sidewalk there, and South Columbia itself has wider traffic lanes. In all three options the two Columbia lanes get narrowed to 11 1/2 feet each. Courtesy city of Decatur

Decatur unveils three options for Columbia Drive multi-use path

During an open house earlier this week Decatur unveiled three options for a multi-use path on the east side of South Columbia Drive, from Talley Street to the first driveway at Legacy Park.

This stretch warrants improvements primarily because of the opening of the new Talley Street 3-5 elementary school, slated for August, and also because there is no sidewalk on Columbia’s east side. The three options are these:

  • A 10-foot multi-use path (shared by pedestrians, runners, all bicyclists), a three-foot grass strip (separating path from Columbia) while leaving both left-hand turn lanes from Columbia to Derrydown Way.
  • The same as A except both Columbia turn lanes get eliminated
  • An eight-foot sidewalk (for pedestrians, runners and bicyclists under 12), five-foot grass strip and no turns lanes from Columbia to Derrydown.

All three options include narrowing Columbia to two 11½-feet traffic lanes. Alan Wieczynski, with city consultant Breedlove Land Planning, said during the open house that some portions of Columbia currently have 14-foot wide lanes “which definitely encourages speed.”

The south Columbia path will be about a quarter-mile long initially, though long-term plans call for eventually linking Talley with the multi-use path further south on Katie Kerr Drive.

Assistant City Manager David Junger said the next steps are gathering feedback from area neighbors and hopefully taking a recommendation the city commission in May.

Also included in this re-design is a new traffic light, or split-phase traffic signal, approved by commissioners in November. This is where one signal controls the three approaches on South Columbia, Talley and Shadowmoor Drive.

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